Meryl Streep goes to Washington

To the Contrary host Bonnie Erbe and Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep

I’m about to tell you something that may make you a little jealous. On Wednesday, I met and produced an interview with Academy Award winning actress Meryl Streep. Yes, you read that right. Meryl. Streep. I’m sure you think I have the coolest job and as my Twitter followers know #iDOhavethecoolestjob. But it’s what brings Ms. Streep to Washington, DC, that I really want to write about.

The National Mall has a museum of natural history, American history, art and an aquarium. But, conspicuously missing is a museum to women’s history. You may think it’s covered by the museum of American history, but alas, it’s not. The American history museum does have a lovely display of First Ladies’ dresses. Nothing about their lives and works, but intimate details about their dresses.

I’m not trying to be overtly feminist, or challenging the influence of men. Men did a great deal for this country. But, so did women. And they deserve the same level of recognition with a museum of their own. Meryl Streep is the spokesperson for the National Women’s History Museum, which currently exists solely online. She is pushing Congress to pass a bill allowing the organization to purchase a site near the mall to build a museum. The bill passed the House soundly, but failed to pass in the Senate, as two (male) Senators put a hold on the bill.

Meryl Streep could put her name and face on any cause. She doesn’t even have to have a cause. She’s MERYL STREEP! But, she chose this one because she believes in giving women a place to be celebrated, recognized and learned about. I think many women would be surprised to find out there is not a museum of women’s history, not just in DC, but in the entire country. Whatever your thoughts on women’s contributions to history or the present, I believe it is important for young women and girls to know whose shoulders they can stand on to make their own influence on history. And maybe a museum is the way to do that.

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